Euro 2020: Ciro Immobile has yet to score for Italy in a major tournament… now he has to stand up

0

Ciro Immobile beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to the Golden Boot in the 2019-2020 season, but he has yet to score for Italy at a major tournament… Roberto Mancini needs his star striker to perform at Euro 2020

For a player whose game is based on speed and movement, Italy’s leading striker has the worst possible last name. But if the Azzurri are to capture their first European title since 1968, they’ll need Ciro Immobile’s goals to get them there.

Immobile – the name is pronounced differently in Italian but has the same meaning as in English – is an enigma of the European club game.

So prolific with his club Lazio that he beat Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski for the Golden Boot for the continent’s top scorer in 2019-20, his country’s blue shirt was like kryptonite for Immobile.

Ciro Immobile was prolific in Serie A but has yet to score in a major tournament for Italy

The Lazio striker beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to the Golden Boot in 2019-2020

The Lazio striker beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to the Golden Boot in 2019-2020

While his record of 13 goals in 46 appearances isn’t entirely disastrous, a closer look at the numbers paints a more worrisome picture.

Immobile has never scored in a major tournament and his list of casualties inspires little confidence.

Goals against Lithuania, Northern Ireland, Armenia, Israel and Liechtenstein were useful in qualifying, but against the bigger powers something more is needed.

Italy has struggled to find productive strikers in modern times. There was Paolo Rossi in 1982, Toto Schillaci in 1990 and Christian Vieri in 1998 and 2002. Coach Roberto Mancini desperately needs Immobile to follow in their footsteps.

Roberto Mancini needs his striker to follow in the footsteps of Italy’s previous attacker

Two factors can work in favor of Immobile. On Friday, he will face Turkey at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, where he has performed so brilliantly for Lazio. And Immobile’s great friend Lorenzo Insigne will play to his left in Italy’s three-man attack.

Insigne and Immobile grew up in Naples and played together in Serie B, Italy’s second division, for a Pescara side that also included Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti.

Both had a difficult upbringing in one of the most difficult cities in Italy. “It’s a beautiful place, but life isn’t always easy,” he told Italian magazine Vanity Fair.

“I’ve seen things that kids shouldn’t see. I saw friends lose their freedom, even their lives, because they made serious mistakes.

“Many of them easily made a lot of money selling things they shouldn’t have.”

Immobile teams up with his childhood friend Lorenzo Insigne as part of the Italian attack

Immobile teams up with his childhood friend Lorenzo Insigne as part of the Italian attack

At 31, Immobile may not have many more chances to shine on the international stage, although there are no clear candidates to take his place.

Still, he’s the kind of forward who can make a hot streak and when he goes to a kite on Friday, anything is possible.

“I’m happy with the personal milestones I’ve achieved,” Immobile said. “Now I want to win big trophies at club and international level.

“I am optimistic about our chances. In short tournaments like this it’s important to have a united team, and we are. We want to make people happy, every player should be.”

Advertisement

.